It’s been awhile since my last film review (Mesrine, which was written a month ago – 10 years ago on the Internet) so I’ve decided to write three short reviews about three recently released movies – Just Go With It, The Roommate, and Hall Pass. I should’ve just watched The Social Network again.
Just Go With It
Oh, Adam Sandler. Sometimes, you show such potential, and then you make five films like this to dilute any accusations of becoming a “serious” actor.
The basic plot of the film goes like this: Sandler plays a Jewish plastic surgeon who was dumped at the altar (seen in a flashback with an offensively oversized facial feature – guess which) and seduces women by pretending he’s married. One night, he finds the girl of his dreams and he doesn’t use the old wedding band trick on her – meaning it must be true love – but she finds out and thinks that she’s just slept with a married man. Sandler then convinces her he’s getting divorced and she insists on meeting his ex-wife before they go any further. Wait, what? I know this is the central catalyst that sets the plot in motion but it’s entirely unbelievable. Wanting to meet your sort-of-boyfriend/one-night stand’s ex before dating any further? Doesn’t make sense. Looking into your new partner’s sexual history? Believable (and probably would’ve been the better question, based on the earlier Sandler Sexual Conquest Montage).
Anyway, Sandler convinces his assistant Jennifer Aniston (who looks like Jennifer Aniston but everyone talks to her like she’s Greta the Swamp Hag) to pretend to be his ex-wife so that he can totally be with the girl of his dreams (I mean, he’s known her for a day and they slept together, so she must be the one, right?). That one lie spawns a whole set of others, with Sandler then having to pretend he has children, to taking a vacation with his girlfriend (plus fake ex-wife, fake children, and fake ex-wife’s new boyfriend). By this point, I actually started enjoying the film because I realized that you only have to suspend your disbelief if you can believe that the characters onscreen could be real people. Because they’re only cartoon caricatures, the absurdity, stupidity, and unbelievability of Sandler’s situation becomes – dare I say it – entertaining.
Side note: I recently read a biography on Clint Eastwood that said that during his prime his movies could make 20% of Warner Brothers profit per year. This got me to thinking that Adam Sandler must be the Sony Pictures version of Clint Eastwood. Whatever you think of the guy, his movies make money. And that’s the bottom line.
This movie made me furious. First because it was just a tepid PG-13 retread of Single White Female that fails to elicit any scares. Secondly because it doesn’t mention cleanliness.
The almost universal problem anyone has with a roommate (or roommates) is the level of cleanliness. Some people are anal retentive about how clean they want the house to be. Others are mildly indifferent. And then there are the roommates who have barely climbed the primordial ladder and are content to bathe in their own ooze and filth (whilst commenting on how messy the place is). Instead, the titular roommate in this “thriller” is really neat and accommodating. But she has schizoid bi-polar disorder. I know, right? She’s clean – so who cares.
The “evil” roommate is played by Leighton Meester, and the “victimized” roommate is played by Minka Kelly. They look like they could be twins – which would be a cool twist if Meester wanted to take Kelly’s identity, but she just really wants to be like, super best friends with her roomie instead y’know? She’s pretty much the college equivalent of Barbara Hershey’s mother in Black Swan. Creepy, possessive, and a little domineering, but ultimately subdued by just locking your door.
Goddammit Farrelly Brothers. You make two of the most amazing comedies of the 90s (Dumb and Dumber, There’s Something About Mary) and then follow them up with a decade of middling, increasingly less funny pictures.
The movie has a decent concept though, I’ll give it that much. Two married middle-aged guys (Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis) get a no-questions asked, no-holds-barred week off from marriage. Interesting, right? The movie will probably be a series of zany encounters – they’ll go to a strip club and get a lap dance from a comically obese stripper named Chocolate Thunder, end up in a county jail where they discover that it isn’t true about what they say about dropping the soap, and then return to their wives – having received no “booty” but learning important life lessons instead. At least that’s one way they could have played it.
In another version, the two schlubs go to bars and hit on women and then there’s a montage of them having sloppy make-out sessions with strangers, awful one-night stand sequences (that are always interrupted before the deed can be done), and running away from killer-eyed crazy ex-boyfriends right into the arms of the women they took for granted. In this version, they also learn life lessons and appreciate what they have with their wives.
Instead of just choosing one of these paths and running with it, the Farrelly Brothers decided to mash the two plotlines together into an unfocused pile of crap. There’s subplots within subplots. And not even funny ones at that. The only good (although I suspect unintentional) joke is that everyone in the film, save for Wilson and Sudeikis, are orange. It looks like they literally drowned the entire cast (Cop #1 and all) in fake tanning solution for a week. In the first scene after Wilson has been given his Hall Pass and his wife is at the cottage, her skin changes from a normal shade of pink to dark orange. If you ever wondered what Pam from the Office would look like as an Oompa-Loompa, look no further.
The biggest problem I had with the movie was that it didn’t pick one path and stick with it. It wanted to be the zany, albeit moral, comedy where the two husbands don’t actually sleep with anyone but also the darkly comic version where the husbands do have sex with other people and run into unforeseen consequences (i.e. getting shot at, ruining their marriage). You have to choose one path, because if you choose all of them, you please no one.
When the only memorable joke in the movie is a woman literally projectile-shitting all over a wall, you known the flick’s a stinker.